(2017) From Hungary with Love

The Hungarian city of Szeged paid homage to the memory of its Internationally respected and loved son, the cinematographer Zsigmond Vilmos by holding a Film Festival in his name devoted to his craft. The reward, for the passion and commitment of the organisers inspired by Eva Szabo and Ivan Javorszky, has been an assurance from the city authorities for support in 2018.

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Chairman of the jury Szabo Gabor HSC

The Festival will be the fourth in the World devoted to the craft of cinematography. The Manaki Bros in Bitola, Macedonia is the oldest, the most impressive is Camerimage in Bydgoszcz, Poland which celebrates its 25th year in November and there is a smaller Festival in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
The organisers original intention was to focus this Festival on films from Eastern and Southern Europe. This intension was overtaken (at least for this inaugural Festival) by a flood of over 300 submissions from five Continents. They competed in five categories. Chairman of the jury was Szabo Gabor HSC who shot the only film directed in 1991 by Vilmos, The Long Shadow. Fellow jurors were Miklos Mari, who had edited for Vilmos, the French director Pierre Filmon responsible for Close Encounters with Vilmos Zsigmond, Nigel Walters BSC Vice-President and the respected film writer and critic Saghy Miklos.

The honour of the first Award for Best Cinematography went to the memorable images created by the Greek cinematographer Yorgos Karvelas GSC for Limbo, interestingly in the Short Feature category. Best Feature from Germany, After the Spring Comes Fall, was shot by Johannes Walterman. The Lithuanian cinematographer Saulius Lukosevicius LAC shot the Documentary winner Paradise Gowns, a film set in Finland and directed by Albina Griniute. It also won the Critics Award. One of the strongest sections in competition was Best Animated Film. The top prize went to Round Trip: Mary, directed and shot by Zharko Ivanov which uses film shot by the Manaki Brothers over a century ago in Macedonia. The Experimental Film Award went to A level shot and directed by the Hungarian Flora Chilton. The Spanish film Hostal Eden, directed by Gonzaga Manso and shot by Juan Santacruz triumphed over the impressive entries in the Short Feature Competition. A special mention in this category went to Angeltown shot in California by Nick Ramsey.

Gabor presenting the Award for Best Documentary to the young Lithuanian
Film Makers Albina Griniute LAC and Saulius Lukosevicius for "Paradise Gowns"-
on right stands juror Pierre Filmon director of "Close encounters with Vilmos Zsigmond"

Special mentions were also made for the Croatian Animated film The Vast Landscape, the impressive Hungarian films: What a Circus, a documentary ; the Experimental entry, Hero’s Journey; and by the critics for Black Air. The Szeged Award went to Wireless an ingenious film illustrating how we are all dependent and connected to each other. In acceptance, all cinematographers mentioned the inspiration of Vilmos Zsigmond.

This Festival deserves the support of film makers. It commemorates a man who was a great supporter of Imago. He believed in improving standards of cinematography though International co-operation and friendship. By good fortune Vilmos was born in a beautiful city of which he was justly proud. This first appearance of a new Festival revealed questions which will be answered by the organisers. One challenge, not peculiar to Szeged, is how to attract larger audiences? In which direction is the Festival heading? The original goal focussing on the creative genius of Eastern Europe or cinematography of wider world? Whatever the outcome of these deliberations the organisers are determined cinematography must remain the focus.

Hungary with its fine tradition of cinematography deserves this Festival. The dynamic Mayor of his city, Botka Laszlo, (standing for President in 2018) in his introduction wished for the new festival to reflect the tradition,inspiration and spirit of Vilmos Zsigmond. For it to prosper it needs the support of Hungarian cinematographers who ,apart from the dedicated Szabo Gabor HSC , were mysteriosly absent.

David Nigel Walters BSC

IMG 1921 IMG 1927

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